Legacy is often an overused word around sporting events; however, a tangible outcome of last year’s tournament has just been released, which everyone can access free. Native Glaswegian, Glasgow 2016 and Oslo 2017 volunteer Hope Gourlay takes up the tale.
“Glasgow Life – who I work for – were a partner of the tournament last year and they delivered a legacy project which was funded through the Big Lottery Fund,” she explains.
“Using that money, part of the project aimed to increase confidence skills and reduce the social isolation of homeless people in the city. So we linked with Strathclyde University and University of Glasgow to write a book.”
She continues: “Glasgow Life recruited 100 homeless volunteers – I went out to hostels and homeless shelters and linked in organisations in Glasgow to recruit them – for last year’s tournament.
“We gave every volunteer a list of Glasgow Life activities – as well as access to Street Soccer Scotland training sessions, vocational workshops and so on – and the book just happened to be one of the things they could get involved with.”
Ten of the volunteers wrote about their experiences, either at the 2016 event itself or their life stories, and the results were compiled into an anthology. Hope and colleagues from Glasgow Life ran a ten-week course, with mentors, to help the volunteers to write their pieces and expand on them – and the result was published at the ‘AyeWrite Festival 2017’ literary festival held in Glasgow earlier this year.
“Ten of our volunteers’ pieces are included in the resulting book, Home Ground, along with contributions from the tutors and writers they worked with,” Hope adds. “You can’t really tell which piece is from a volunteer and which is from a mentor, which is what we wanted.”
Ten thousand hard copies were published and given out the public – around Glasgow and all around Scotland – and the book is now available to everyone to download for free.
“The volunteers got their stories out there and it’s really helped them,” she says. “A number have carried on with the creative writing classes as well as writing more pieces and getting them published.
“So it’s showing that the legacy from the event in Glasgow is really working.”
Home Ground, new writing inspired by the 2017 Homeless World Cup in Glasgow, is a powerful and enduring collection of new writing from established authors, learners, students and tutors who have worked together in Glasgow. The stories and poems are peppered with the landmarks, spaces and places that are emblems of the city. Most of all, they are about people — their hopes and fears, and their trials and triumphs.
Home Ground is now available free of charge to download here:
Words: Isobel Irvine
Image: Ole Christian Eklund